Hamas has warned Israel against waging war on the Gaza strip in retaliation for the deaths of three kidnapped Israeli youths, threatening that "the gates of hell will open" should action be taken.
The response came after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed: "Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay", following the discovery of the bodies of the three missing youths yesterday.
The Israeli military struck 34 targets across the Gaza Strip overnight after more than 20 rockets were fired from the territory into Israel since late Sunday.
Hamas, however, responded warning against any broad offensive on the territory. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "Netanyahu should know that threats don't scare Hamas, and if he wages a war on Gaza, the gates of hell will open on him."
Mr Netanyahu said the teenagers "were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by human animals", as he convened an emergency meeting of his security cabinet.
Video: Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters
According to reports Israeli troops flooded into the Palestinian town of Halhul where the bodies of the three kidnapped teenagers were found.
Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, disappeared on June 12 while hitchhiking home from the Jewish seminaries where they were studying near the West Bank city of Hebron.
Despite the dangers, hitchhiking is common among Israelis travelling in and out of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
In an operation codenamed Brother's Keeper, Israel dispatched thousands of troops across the West Bank in search of the youths, closed roads in the area and arrested 400 Hamas operatives throughout the territory.
The search ended yesterday afternoon with the discovery of the bodies under a pile of rocks in a field north of Hebron.
Israel has identified two well-known Hamas operatives from Hebron as the primary suspects.
The men, Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh, remain on the run and military officials said the search for them would continue.
The search for the teenagers became a national obsession. Israeli media delivered round-the-clock updates, senior officials held daily televised briefings and Israelis held prayer vigils.
The mothers of the three teenagers became public figures as they campaigned for their sons' return, at one point travelling to Geneva to address the UN Human Rights Council.
In pictures: Israel reacts to deaths of kidnapped teenagers
In pictures: Israel reacts to deaths of kidnapped teenagers
Relatives and friends gather around a grave, as Gilad Shaer, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Ifrach, 19, are buried side-by-side in the central Israeli town of Modiin
Tens of thousands Israelis attend the joint funeral of Gilad Shaer, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Ifrach, 19, in the central Israeli town of Modiin
sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) eulogizes three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed in the occupied West Bank, Gil-Ad Shaer, US-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, during their joint funeral in the Israeli city of Modiin
Avi (C) and Rachel (R) Frenkel and their son (L), hold a reading close to the body of their son Naftali Frenkel, 16, (unseen) during his funeral service in the Jewish settlement of Nof Ayalon, in the Israeli occupied West Bank
A makeshift memorial site is constructed in memory of the three Israeli teenagers found dead, in Halhul, West Bank
A man attends the funeral ceremony held for the three Israeli teenagers found dead in Modiin
People attend the funeral of the three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed in the West Bank, during their joint funeral in the Israeli city of Modiin
A Jewish woman prays during the joint funeral of the three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed in the occupied West Bank, in the Israeli city of Modiin
The parents and other family members of Naftali Frankel, one of the three Israeli teens found dead, attend his funeral service in Nof Ayalon, Israel
Avi and Rachel Fraenkel attend the funeral of their son, Naftali, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, in their town of Nof Ayalon
Parents of Gilad Shaer stand next to their son's body during his funeral ceremony at his hometown Talmon Jewish settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah
Tens of thousands Israelis attend the joint funeral of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Ifrach, in the central Israeli town of Modiin
Mourners and relatives of Israeli teenager Eyal Ifrach attend his funeral outside his house, in the city of Elad
Friends and family grieve during the funeral ceremony of Gilad Shaer
Avi and Rachel Fraenkel embrace during the funeral of their son, Naftali, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Nof Ayalon
The body of 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, covered in an Israeli flag, is carried to an ambulance after his funeral service in his hometown in Nof Ayalon
Ofir, the father of Gilad Shaer, 16, hugs a mourner as they stand in front of his son's body during a funeral service at his hometown, the Talmon Jewish settlement, near the West Bank city of Ramallah
Friends of 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, crying at his funeral service in his hometown of Nof Ayalon
Women cry during the eulogy ceremony for Eyal Yifrach, one of the three Israeli teens found dead, before his funeral at the synagogue in city of Elad
Mourners, and relatives of Israeli teenager Eyal Ifrach, one of the three students abducted and then shot dead, attend his funeral outside his house, in the city of Elad in central Israel
Israelis mourns and light candles in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after the announce that the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found
Israelis mourns and light candles in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after the announce that the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found. Israel confirmed finding the bodies of three teenagers who disappeared in the southern West Bank, blaming the Islamist Hamas movement for their kidnapping and murder
Israelis march on the road near where three missing teenagers were abducted, near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Alon Shvut
News of their deaths prompted an outpouring of grief. Large crowds of supporters rushed to the homes of the families in the central Israeli towns of Nof Ayalon and Elad, and the West Bank settlement of Talmon, while supporters lit memorial candles and prayed.
Israelis are this evening preparing to bury three teenagers who were kidnapped over two weeks ago amid a surge of violence that has followed the discovery of their bodies.
The Israeli army said the air force has targeted dozens of locations in the Gaza Strip. Troops also shot dead a Palestinian man in the West Bank, where the young people disappeared on June 12.
Video: The last call from Israeli teenagers
In Washington, president Barack Obama sent his "deepest and heartfelt condolences" to the families. "As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing," he said. Yet he urged "all parties" to refrain from steps that could further destabilise the situation.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon issued a similar condemnation of the "heinous crime", but also urged the sides to "refrain from any actions that could further escalate this highly tense situation".
Israel's military said a Palestinian was shot dead when he threw a grenade at forces carrying out an arrest raid hours after the discovery of the bodies of the Israeli teenagers.
A spokesman said the clash occurred in the West Bank town of Jenin. It was the first casualty since the bodies were found.
Addtional reporting by AP.Reuse content